What is a Dual Fuel Generator?

What is a Dual Fuel Generator? A Brief Guide

6 Min Read

Choosing the fuel source your generator runs off of just might be the most important decision you make when buying a generator.

The world’s most powerful generator, capable of pushing out clean, efficient, useful energy with a skyhigh reliability rating won’t amount to much if you don’t have fuel to run it.

At the same time, choosing the right fuel source isn’t as easy as flipping a coin or deciding which fuel source you feel most comfortable with.

Diesel fuel (for example) might be readily available and inexpensive right now, but is that going to be the situation in a year? Five years from now? 10 years?

It’s tough to know.

Luckily, though, you don’t have to settle for just a single fuel source any longer.

In this detailed post we are going to cover everything you need to know when you’re wondering what is a dual fuel generator and is it right for your needs.

What is a Dual Fuel Generator, Exactly?

A dual fuel generator is (surprise, surprise) simply a generator that can run off of two different fuel sources.

Many of the most popular options on the market today are capable of flipping from traditional gasoline to diesel fuel or gasoline/diesel to propane. But those are just two incredibly popular dual fuel combinations. There’s a whole bunch of others out there to pick and choose from.

Truth be told, there are even triple fuel generators available on the market today (but were not going to dig too much into them right now).

Dual Fuel and Bi-Fuel Generators are Not the Same Thing

But before we get into the “meat and potatoes” of breaking down dual fuel generators and all they have to offer, it’s important to make this critical distinction:

Dual fuel generators are NOT the same thing as bi-fuel generators.

These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but nothing could be further from the truth. A dual fuel generator is able to use two different types of fuel at the same time, whereas a bi-fuel generator can run off of two different types of fuel sources independently of one another.

For example, a dual fuel generator would be able to run off of diesel fuel as well as natural gas at the exact same time. These fuels can either be mixed together automatically (by the generator itself) or used independently.

With a bi-fuel generator, though, each of the fuel sources are going to be used independently. You can flip from one to the other depending on which is most efficient at any one way in time – kind of the way that hybrid cars work.

Keep that in mind when you are looking at dual fuel generators.

Pros of Dual Fuel Generators

Easy Fuel Access

The biggest advantage that these pieces of hardware offer is the ability to run your generator in emergency situations even if you don’t have a full supply of your “primary fuel” available.

Natural disasters are notorious for disrupting the supply of gasoline and diesel fuel. If you find yourself trapped in a situation where Mother Nature has disrupted supply chains having a backup fuel source for your generator is always a plus.


Another big bonus for dual fuel generators is the natural reliability they offer compared to single fuel options.

For one thing, the natural backup fuel source for a lot of dual fuel options is propane. You can buy lots of propane inexpensively, store it for a tremendous amount of time with no ill effect, and transport it with little to no difficulty.

These kinds of generators also burn very efficiently thanks to the self-regulating, self mixing, or self isolating systems built right in, too. That’s going to help long-term reliability in a big way.

Wattage Rating

Finally, dual fuel options allow you to run your generator in a way that makes the most sense for your specific wattage needs.

Gasoline and diesel fuels are often used to power generators that need to produce a lot of electricity in a short amount of time. But what if you aren’t running major appliances off of this generator but instead just need a little bit of juice to run some electric lights?

Well, with a dual fuel set up you can “flip a switch” and have propane handle the bulk of the heavy lifting for powering those less energy intensive options.

You put less stress on your generator, subject it to less wear and tear, and use a more efficient fuel source for the purpose at hand – saving you money, headache, and hassle along the way.

Dual Fuel Generators are Bigger and Bulkier

On the flip side of things, though, dual fuel generators are always bigger and bulkier than single fuel setups.

That’s to be expected (both fuel storage tanks need to have identical capacity in case they have to take over the primary fuel source lot), but it is still something that you need to consider all the same.

What is a Dual Fuel Generator Conversion Kit?

If you have already purchased a single fuel generator and are pretty comfortable with the way it works, but would love nothing more than to get your hands on a dual fuel set up, conversion kits might be the way to go.

There are a lot of third-party manufacturers that offer fuel conversion kits that give you dual capabilities – even if that generator didn’t come with those kinds of components to begin with.

Best of all, these kits are (usually) a little less expensive than buying a brand-new dual fuel generator, too. That means you’ll get the best of all worlds – improved power, improve performance, and a tough to beat price tag.

Closing Thoughts

Dual fuel power portable generators are worthwhile to consider as an investment for your home because they provide you with two different sources of energy in case of an emergency. The last thing you want to have to worry about in a power outage or emergency is whether or not you have access the fuel you need to keep everything running safely and smoothly.



Brian has spent over 30 years as a general contractor, and in that time seen and faced many challenges. He brings all his knowledge of portable generators, battery powered tools, and outdoor equipment to every post he writes through real life experience. Learn more about us.

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